For over 35 years, we have been in the business of helping individuals become successful small business owners. We have learned a great deal along the way and would like to share a few tips. Making the transition from an employee (or stay-at-home parent) to a business owner can be challenging. If you are a small business owner, pay close attention, especially if you are in the service industry. You may not even realize that you are making some of these potentially costly mistakes.
Social Media Faux Pas
Social media is a great tool for business owners. It’s a way of delivering information quickly. It’s an advertising tool and is great for networking. Warning: The public doesn’t distinguish between you the individual, and you the business owner. Use it to your advantage, and not to your demise. You can be yourself on social media, but remember to mind your manners. There are times when keeping your opinion to yourself is the best option. Passive-aggressive social media behavior is tacky…don’t do it. Avoid elusive comments (or blatant comments) that aim to belittle or berate others, especially your customers. It just looks bad. Calling other business out in a negative way on social media does not do you any favors. Rise above the drama. The way you act online says a lot about you and your business to your customers.
Whether you are making a post online or are dealing with a supplier on the phone, keep it professional! I can’t stress this enough. Let’s face it, you are going to deal with individuals and companies that drive you crazy from time to time. It is what it is, but keep your composure and stay in control. Yes, there are times that require some passionate persuasion or negotiation, but don’t loose control of your temper or emotions. Do not make a habit of burning bridges. Even though you think you never want to do business with a company or individual again, you may need them at some point in time. Don’t burn bridges unnecessarily.
Start building a professional network of business associations. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and start networking. You can do this through social media, email, phone calls, or the good old fashion way…in person. Look for ways to expand your network and keep expanding it.
Know the Laws
As a business owner, it is your responsibility to seek out the necessary information regarding the laws that pertain to your business. Each state is different when it comes to local laws. If you aren’t sure what you need to do to operate legally as a business owner, simply call your local city offices. Don’t rely on unreliable sources. Go straight to the source to get accurate information regarding laws. If you need, seek the help of an attorney and/or accountant.
Continue To Learn
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you know everything. Whether you have been in business for 1 month or 20 years, there is always room to learn and grow. Technology is constantly changing the way business functions. Embrace it. Don’t stop learning and growing. Don’t reinvent the wheel either. If you can learn from someone who has “been there,” do it! If you need help learning how to navigate social media, learn from those that specialize in it, even if it means paying a fee or hiring a coach. Your time is money, don’t waste it trying to figure out something that can be learned quickly with the right help.
I hope you find these tidbits of information helpful. Owning your own business is an adventure. There are ups and downs, and you will experience both excitement and frustration along your journey. But at the end of the day, you are it! You are the business owner! Have confidence, but not arrogance. Have courage, but don’t bully. Have goals, but be real. Have dreams and work toward them every day.